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W.T. Massey - How Jerusalem Was Won. Allenby's Campaign in Palestine

where they had route marches over the sand for the restoration of their marching powers. Gradually he
accumulated supplies in sheltered positions just behind the front. In three dumps were collected seven

days' mobile rations, ammunition, water, and engineers' material. Tracks were constructed, cables buried,

concealed gun positions and brigade and battalion headquarters made, and from the 25th October troops

were ready to move off with two days' rations on the man. Should the enemy retire, General Hill's 52nd

(Lowland) Division was to march up the shore beneath the sand cliffs, get across the wadi Hesi at the

mouth, detach a force to proceed towards Askalon, and then move eastward down to the ridge opposite

Deir Sineid, and, by securing the bridge and crossings of the wadi Hesi, prevent the enemy establishing

himself on the north bank of the wadi. The operations on the night of November 1-2 were conducted by

Major-General Hare, commanding the 54th Division, to which General Leggatt's 156th Infantry Brigade

was temporarily attached. The latter brigade was given the important task of capturing Umbrella Hill and

El Arish Redoubt. Umbrella Hill was to be taken first, and as it was anticipated the enemy would keep up

a strong artillery fire for a considerable time after the position had been taken, and that his fire would

interfere with the assembly and advance of troops detailed for the second phase, the first phase was timed

to start four hours earlier than the second. For several days the guns had opened intense fire at midnight

and again at 3 A.M. so that the enemy should not attach particular importance to our artillery activity on

the night of action, and a creeping barrage nightly swept across No Man's Land to clear off the chain of

listening posts established 300 yards in front of the enemy's trenches. Some heavy banks of cloud moved

across the sky when the Scottish Rifle Brigade assembled for the assault, but the moon shed sufficient

light at intervals to enable the Scots to file through the gaps made in our wire and to form up on the tapes

laid outside. At 11 P.M. the 7th Scottish Rifles stormed Umbrella Hill with the greatest gallantry. The

first wave of some sixty-five officers and men was blown up by four large contact mines and entirely

destroyed. The second wave passed over the bodies of their comrades without a moment's check and,

moving through the wire smashed by our artillery, entered Umbrella Hill trenches and set about the

Turks with their bayonets. They had to clear a maze of trenches and dug-outs, but they bombed out of

existence the machine-gunners opposing them and had settled the possession of Umbrella Hill in half an

hour.

The 4th Royal Scots led the attack on El Arish Redoubt. It was a bigger and noisier 'show' than the Royal
Scots had had some months before, when in a 'silent' raid they killed with hatchets only, for the Scots had

seen the condition of some of their dead left in Turkish hands and were taking retribution. Not many

Turks in El Arish Redoubt lived to relate that night's story. The Scots were rapidly in the redoubt and

were rapidly through it, cleared up a nasty corner known as the 'Little Devil,' and were just about to

shelter from the shells which were to answer their attack when they caught a brisk fire from a Bedouin

hut. A platoon leader disposed his men cleverly and rushed the hut, killing everybody in it and capturing

two machine guns. The vigorous resistance of the Turks on Umbrella Hill and El Arish Redoubt resulted

in our having to bury over 350 enemy dead in these positions.

The second phase was to attack the enemy's front-line system from El Arish Redoubt to the sea at Sea
Post. At 3 A.M., after the enemy guns had plentifully sprinkled Umbrella Hill and had given it up as

irretrievably lost, we opened a ten-minutes' intense bombardment of the front line, exactly as had been

done on preceding mornings, but this time the 161st and 162nd Infantry Brigades followed up our shells

and carried 3000 yards of trenches at once. Three-quarters of an hour afterwards the 163rd Infantry

Brigade tried to get the support trenches several hundred yards in rear, but the difficulties were too many

and the effort failed. Having secured Sea Post and Beach Post the 162nd Brigade completed the

programme by advancing up the coast and capturing the 'port' of Gaza, Sheikh Hasan, with a

 

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